Cleaning Wood Cabinets

Finding the best method to clean and protect wood cabinets can be a challenge. This guide is about cleaning wood cabinets.

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Wood Kitchen Cabinets
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Question: Removing an Unknown Odor from Wood Cabinets

By anna 1

Our house has oak cabinets in the kitchen. It is not particle board. There is a strange smell like "old" wood if that makes sense, coming from all the cabinets. It doesn't smell like mildew and I've checked the flooring below and it's fine, no signs of water damage. Any ideas to clean this or get rid of the smell?

By Anna from WI

AnswerWas this helpful? Yes

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Most Recent Answer

By ssblaze 1 Flag

July 31, 2013

We bought a home built in 1978 and had the same problem. Since there were many cabinets the cost of replacement was out of the question. I used a 10% bleach to 80% water spray to clean them out. After letting them dry thoroughly (overnight) I painted them with a high gloss paint no primer needed. I recommend using two coats. The cabinets smell fresh and look nice inside.

ReplyWas this helpful? Yes


Question: Cleaning Grease Off Wood Cabinets

By Barbara 1

What way is best to clean wood cabinets with grease buildup on them?

By Barbara from Taylorsville, MS

AnswerWas this helpful? Yes

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Most Recent Answer

By kthln3 1 Flag

June 2, 2013

The advice given by SeptBlueMusic was spot on! Not only did it work quickly, but wow, the oak cabinets at last had no greasy film on them whatsoever...it even removed the accumulated grease from the handles and hardware. I took her advice and wore a mask and gloves, and also did the work outside. Now, onto sanding and restaining them! Thank you, thank you, thank you SeptBlueMusic!

ReplyWas this helpful? Yes


Question: Cleaning Build Up on Cabinets

My cabinets have stains, grit, and dirt build up over 30 years. How do I remove it without stripping the cabinets?

By Tammy

AnswerWas this helpful? Yes


Most Recent Answer

By Kim Hunter 1 1 Flag

April 4, 2015

I don't know. That's what I'm trying to find out!

ReplyWas this helpful? Yes


Tip: Zout for Cleaning Cabinets

By mgriffin14 1

After reading through this blog, I saw a suggestion for Spray and Wash to clean the cabinets. I love Zout to get stains out and tried that. I sprayed it on, rubbed it in with my fingers, let it sit a little and wiped it clean with a microfiber towel and some water. Yippee!! Worked great! The goop came off and the cabinet looks great. Now some lemon oil and we're all set!

    CommentWas this helpful? Yes

    Question: Cleaning Wood Veneer Cabinets

    By Marcia Babcock 2

    How can I clean wood veneer kitchen cabinets?

    Marcia

    AnswerWas this helpful? Yes


    Most Recent Answer

    By Judi 18 938 Flag

    February 5, 2009

    You can use Murphy's Oil Soap.

    ReplyWas this helpful? Yes

    Question: Cleaning Polished Wood Cabinet Doors

    By chithra regunathan 6 5

    My kitchen cabinets are a natural wood finish and sometimes some stuff spills on to the cabinet doors. When I try to clean them with water they do not fully come clean. These surfaces have a wood polish and I do not want to rub them too hard. I clean them with a wet wipe but am afraid to scrub too hard as the surface does not look the same. Please advise.

    Little Princess from Toronto

    AnswerWas this helpful? Yes


    Most Recent Answer

    By Judi 18 938 Flag

    January 30, 2009

    Have you tried Murphy's Oil soap?

    ReplyWas this helpful? Yes

    Tip: Wood Cabinet Cleaner

    Removes grease and dirt without harming the wood.

    Ingredients:

    • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
    • 4 Tbsp. white vinegar
    • 1 qt. warm water
    • 2 qt. container with lid
    • 2 soft cloths

    Directions:

    Put all of the ingredients in the container and shake it until the contents are mixed. Then to use, dampen a soft cloth with some of the mixture and wipe down the cabinets. Dry them with a clean cloth.

    CommentWas this helpful? Yes

    Question: Lemon Oil Left White Marks on Oak Cabinets

    I put lemon oil on my oak cabinets and now they show white marks. What do I do?

    By Jim

    AnswerWas this helpful? Yes

    Question: Cleaning Around Handles on Oak Veneer Cabinets

    I've read the many questions and responses. My question is a little different. I have 1960s light stained oak veneer cupboards in my kitchen, all original. I have kept them clean, but there are some cupboards that have stains around the handles from many years of cooking hands prior to us. I don't want to take the finish off. Is there any recipe that would remove this safely? Or do I need to think about refinishing all my kitchen cupboard doors? I'd like to avoid that if possible.

    By Cynthia F

    AnswerWas this helpful? Yes

    Question: Cleaning Wood Kitchen Cabinets

    By pearson777 2 5

    What is best product for cleaning wood kitchen cabinets? They are 50 yrs old and never painted. They were sanded, stained honey oak, and lightly buffed with oil about 15 yrs ago.

    By pearson777 from Riverside, CA

    AnswerWas this helpful? Yes

    Archive: Cleaning Grease Off Kitchen Cabinets

    I'm trying to clean the grease off my wooden kitchen cabinets, what can i use that won't harm the wood.

    Joe from Pittsburgh

    Answers:
    RE: Cleaning Grease Off Kitchen Cabinets 02/23/2006
    I clean houses on weekends and have found that 409 works really well. Old English makes a spray cleaner/polish for furniture and it will make the cabinets look new again! It's in a spray can like the other furniture polish, not an oil.
    By suzi_homemaker01 (Guest Post)
    RE: Cleaning Grease Off Kitchen Cabinets 02/24/2006
    Orange Glo works well, They also have a wood restorer that is very simple to use for evey few months.
    By the Oracle
    RE: Cleaning Grease Off Kitchen Cabinets 02/24/2006
    Full Strength Simple Green! I am a professional cleaner and I have tried them all. Simple Green is the best and least harmful to you and the environment.
    By Vicky (Guest Post)
    RE: Cleaning Grease Off Kitchen Cabinets 02/25/2006
    Thank you for the idea of using goo gone, I have been cleaning for years and would not of thought of that I will now.
    By gabbiejanice
    RE: Cleaning Grease Off Kitchen Cabinets 02/25/2006
    I will try the goo gone which I already have, but I'll test a small area. My cabinets are solid cherry, finished as furniture. I don't want to ruin that.

    Jennifer
    Northern Virginia

    By ILuvDobes

    Archive: Cleaning Grease off Wood Cabinets

    Can anyone tell me how to get grease off wood cabinets and stainless steel? Also, how to clean hardwood kitchen flooring?

    Shirleybell from Indian Trail, NC

    Answers:

    RE: Cleaning Grease off Wood Cabinets

    For a quick fix: Murphy's oil soap! (04/26/2006)

    By camo_angels

    RE: Cleaning Grease off Wood Cabinets

    I had the same problem in a trailer I moved into & after using AWSOME CLEANER from dollar tree Had it clean enough to paint. (04/26/2006)

    By Randa Wagner

    RE: Cleaning Grease off Wood Cabinets

    The best thing I've found for getting grease off of any surface is "Greased Lightning". I buy it at Home Depot. My stove has a black glass panel on the top and this shines it up real nice. And, I just did all of my wood cabinets and they look great. Just spray it on, let sit for a minute, wash off with clear water. Works great! (04/26/2006)

    By sjackie2000

    RE: Cleaning Grease off Wood Cabinets

    We just moved into an old farmhouse. The cabinets were stained dark with grease. I used Dawn dish soap in warm water. It worked better than any other cleaner I tried. (04/27/2006)

    By Dacia in Iowa

    Archive: Cleaning Grease off Wood Cabinets

    How do you remove old hard grease splatters from kitchen cabinets. They are maple hardwood.

    Thank you,
    Debbie from South Amboy, NJ

    Feedback:

    RE: Cleaning Grease off Wood Cabinets

    Good old fashioned lemon oil. It takes soap scum off the toughest shower door, but is gentle enough for the most expensive wood work. (09/22/2006)

    By CarlaJS

    RE: Cleaning Grease off Wood Cabinets

    My husband always uses denatured alcohol to clean wood with build up of dirt,grease etc. Here is an excerpt from an article on restoring old furniture. Be careful don't ruin the finish.

    "If detergent cleaning doesn't work, use a solvent (depending on the type of finish) to clean the wood. Solvent cleaning is the last resort to consider because it may damage the finish. Use mineral spirits or turpentine on any finish; use denatured alcohol on varnish or lacquer. Do not use alcohol on shellac or on a shellac/lacquer mixture. Working in a well-ventilated area (outdoors is best)apply the solvent with a rough cloth, such as burlap or an old towel. Then wipe the wood clean with another cloth. Finally, apply a commercial cleaner/conditioner, and buff the wood lightly." (09/24/2006)

    By TC in MO

    RE: Cleaning Grease off Wood Cabinets

    I cleaned my good 15 year old pine cabinets with 409, which also took off the finish. That was fine with me. I urethaned them with satin finish and they have lasted me for 30 years. Then I moved. At first I was unhappy about the finish removal, but on better thought and with my mother's input, we decided it was best in the long run. It certainly was! Good luck (09/30/2006)

    By 2oma

    RE: Cleaning Grease off Wood Cabinets

    I'm looking for something to clean up my dark wood kitchen cabinets. They have drops of paint on them from where the ceiling was repainted. When I put a cleaner on them they are sticky and my rag seems to get stuck and makes it hard to clean the cabinets. Any suggestions (10/28/2006)

    By stacy

    RE: Cleaning Grease off Wood Cabinets

    I tried most of the reader suggestions (except for the ones that will remove the finish) and the best by far was the spray bottle version of Murphy's Oil Soap. (11/12/2006)

    By Pris

    RE: Cleaning Grease off Wood Cabinets

    My cabinets are at least 25 years old I have been reading several of the responses about cleaning built up grease. Do any of these suggestions work on cabinets that old with that much built up.
    (03/09/2007)

    By Margaret

    RE: Cleaning Grease off Wood Cabinets

    Margaret, my kitchen cabinets are 50 years old! I recently decided to paint them and used Greased Lightning on them. Oh my, the gunk that came off of those cabinets! I can't tell you though, really, if it harmed the finish of the cabinets; being 50 year old stained plywood doors they didn't have much of a "finish" to start with! You could try the Greased Lightning and maybe even one of the Mr. Clean Magic Erasers on an inconspicuous spot on your cabinetry to see how it works for you. (03/09/2007)

    By Persnickety Paula

    RE: Cleaning Grease off Wood Cabinets

    I was very surprised to find out how quick and easy it was to cut through grease build up on appliances such as stove tops, vent-a-hood, refrigerators, and wooden kitchen cabinets and vinyl flooring by using Spray N Wash straight from the can. I sprayed it on and let it set a few seconds then took a damp sponge and the surfaces were squeaky clean. Inexpensive product and not harsh on the surfaces. Give it a try - you won't even have to use much elbow grease to remove the grease build up with spray n wash. (03/16/2008)

    By Lisa

    RE: Cleaning Grease off Cherry Wood Cabinets

    I have tried cleaning my beautiful dark Cherry Kitchen cabinets of fingerprints and grease. So far I have found nothing that works. I have used numerous products and nothing has worked. I know there has to be something that cleans them. Can someone help me, please? I don't want to use dish soap and any old spray as it dries out the wood. I need something that CLEANS, and still leaves the luster with no dryness afterwards. Thank you so much for any help. (06/19/2008)

    By Annie

    RE: Cleaning Grease off Wood Cabinets

    The answer is to try to keep the grease from building up on your kitchen cabinets after you have cleaned them with the ideas you have received. An outside vent prevents the grease from building up on your cabinets. If you do not have one, it is worth having one installed, and use it when cooking! (07/22/2008)

    By Sue

    RE: Cleaning Grease off Wood Cabinets

    Ok, here goes.

    I read all the suggestions and I thank you folks for taking the time to post them. Then I tried my own formula. I had tried the special sprays, bleach, lemon, vinegar and the degreasers, without much luck.

    I have old badly painted white wooden cabinets that were caked with cooking grease/oils. I asked myself, "What do I have that cuts grease?" Well, my eyes landed on the Dawn on my sink. Well, that's what I use for my dishes so why not give it a try. So, I got some microfiber cloths, a scrubby sponge, and the Dawn.

    I set up a basin of vinegar water to rinse with, because I knew it would cut the soap. I put some Dawn on the sponge full strength, worked it into a foam and applied, it doesn't run this way either. I used the back of the sponge to work the lather around, rubbing when needed.

    I let it sit for a minute then I rinsed with a microfiber cloth with the vinegar water, rubbing when needed. Do a final rinse to clean the vinegar away. Worked better than anything that I have seen. It takes some time, but, no chemical fumes. I plan on washing down the cabinets at least once a week with a good cleaning once a month. Hopefully this will prevent that build up again. Hope this helps. (07/22/2008)

    By joann2008

    RE: Cleaning Grease off Wood Cabinets

    You might want to try a magic eraser by Mr. Clean . These take the grease off of everything with plain water. (07/22/2008)

    By twinkies

    RE: Cleaning Grease off Wood Cabinets

    Did anyone find out if Goo Gone takes the finish off? I have a new kitchen (about 6 years) and even though I have a microwave/fan, it just isn't strong enough to vent properly. Anyway, even though I don't fry much, the cabinets above and to the side of my stove have grease that I haven't had any success removing. I've tried Murphy's Oil Soap and it did absolutely nothing. I'm afraid that anything harsh will take off the finish. I see lots of suggestions, but only a few mention about what it might do to the finish. Any other suggestions? (08/12/2008)

    By Madeline from Fresh Meadows

    RE: Cleaning Grease off Wood Cabinets

    Mix 3 tablespoons turpentine to 2 cups very hot water (you must wear gloves). It is important to keep the solution very hot. I tried one of those dry erasers and it took took the natural shine of my cherry cabinets off. (09/28/2008)

    By Dee

    RE: Cleaning Grease off Wood Cabinets

    I needed a way to remove the grease build up from the tops of my cabinet doors, and also from the grooves around the trim. I used Shout gel with the scrubber top and it did a wonderful job. I rubbed it on the problem areas, waited a few minutes, then wiped with a damp cloth. (10/21/2008)

    By lisanc

    RE: Cleaning Grease off Wood Cabinets

    I have a kitchen full of lovely cherry cabinets, now 8 years old. I've had good luck using what the builder strongly recommended, Guardsman Furniture Polish Cream. I dilute it, 4 parts water to 1 part Guardsman, and put it in a spray bottle. I spray a microfiber dishcloth (way cheap at Walmart) with this solution and clean away. No need to polish after it dries.

    My cabinets have a decorative bead surrounding the insert and the spray will get stuck in those grooves if I spray the wood directly. So I spray the cloth instead. I only work on cabinets were I can see the dirt well. As the light moves around my kitchen, I pick another one to clean. The cabinets below the counters take the most abuse and need cleaning more often than those above.

    The microfiber cloth alone works well for a quick dusting.

    (11/15/2008)

    By mwlowder

    RE: Cleaning Grease off Wood Cabinets

    In response to cleaning stainless steel: this may sound unusual, but Pledge yes regular Pledge in the yellow can works terrific. When I had my kitchen done, I bought all the expensive wipes and creams and polishes for stainless steel only to find that they all left a streaky mess. Use a microfiber cloth and either spray the appliance or cloth and just wipe. I find it works great on my stove top as well. Try it, you'll be amazed and no streaks. (02/04/2009)

    By Debbie P. LI

    Archive: Cleaning Grease Off Wood Cabinets

    I have a vent hood and a kitchen full of wood cabinets and drawers that have polyurethane on them. The grease has accumulated over the years and I searched here for answers. I didn't have anything on hand that was suggested, but I did have a product that I buy at the Dollar Store that is called "Totally Awesome". It's super cheap and I use it on all sorts of things as a general cleaner. I thought what the heck and I sprayed it on and let it sit for about 2 minutes. I was amazed at how it performed. My wood looks so good. I am now going out to buy another bottle.

    By DVK from Pasadena, TX

    Feedback:

    RE: Cleaning Grease Off Wood Cabinets

    If you are looking for Totally Awesome, both our Dollar Tree and Family Dollar store carries it. (07/21/2009)

    By IamDodo

    Archive: Cleaning Grease Off Wood Cabinets

    How do you clean grease off of oak kitchen cabinets?

    By steve123 from MD

    Feedback:

    RE: Cleaning Grease Off Wood Cabinets

    Fantastik spray works great for this. (09/18/2009)

    By mrowe

    RE: Cleaning Grease Off Wood Cabinets

    Vinegar will do the job, good luck. (09/19/2009)

    By kffrmw88

    RE: Cleaning Grease Off Wood Cabinets

    I recently moved into an apartment that was built in the mid 80s. Not sure if these are the original cabinets but they were pretty disgusting. I used Murphy's Oil soap (w/hot water) and good old fashioned elbow grease.

    In some cases I had to use the rough side of a non-scratch sponge, but light enough so as not to damage the finish. (09/19/2009)

    By COflower

    RE: Cleaning Grease Off Wood Cabinets

    You can clean the cabinets with a product called TSP. You can get it at Home Depot or Lowe's. It works great. (09/22/2009)

    By alomagene

    RE: Cleaning Grease Off Wood Cabinets

    I agree with COflower, we just cleaned ours and it works great. We have been told to use Scots Liquid Gold next, as it will cover small blemishes. (09/22/2009)

    By antique person

    Archive: Cleaning Grease Off Wood Cabinets

    How do I get grease off old, stained wood kitchen cabinets?

    By Veronica from Akron, OH

    Feedback:

    RE: Cleaning Grease Off Wood Cabinets

    Vinegar will do the job. Good luck. (11/24/2009)

    By kffrmw88

    RE: Cleaning Grease Off Wood Cabinets

    There are lots of answers in the archived links below. One of them is bound to work for you. ;-) (11/26/2009)

    By Deeli

    RE: Cleaning Grease Off Wood Cabinets

    Simple Green is a grease based product and dissolves build-up grease. I have used it for years and absolutely love it. My over the range hood cleans up with one spray. I use it on my oak cupboards also. Just spray, wait a few seconds and wipe it off. Don't use it on fabric unless you can wash the area to wash the Simple Green out. I have removed spots on my white carpet with it, then used plain dish soap to remove Simple Green. (11/26/2009)

    By latrtatr

    Archive: Cleaning Grease Off Wood Cabinets

    I have greasy and sticky finger stains on wood cabinets.

    By Nan from NJ

    Feedback:

    RE: Cleaning Grease Off Wood Cabinets

    There are a number of products available for your wood cleaning needs. I recommend Guardsman. Their products are available at many stores nationwide, including Bed Bath and Beyond, Wal-Mart, and Ace Hardware. A more economical way to remove grease build-up on wood kitchen cabinets is to use Fantastik. Apply and remove quickly, then wash your cabinets with a mild soap. After washing, dry thoroughly and apply a silicone-free polish.

    I recommend that you wash and polish cabinets once or twice each year. Use a light coat of quality furniture polish and never use detergents, soap pads, or steel wool on your cabinetry. These harsh abrasives will mar the wood finish. Additionally, we recommend that you avoid the use of paste wax and polishes that contain silicone; the wax build up is difficult to remove and will leave a residue that attracts dust. (05/24/2010)

    By WendyLight

    Archive: Cleaning Grease Off Wood Cabinets

    What is the best product to use, when trying to clean kitchen cabinets (wood stained) with grease build up? I need something I can use without damaging stain finish or sealer on the cabinets.

    By Regina from Riverside, CA

    Feedback:

    RE: Cleaning Grease Off Wood Cabinets

    Scott's Liquid Gold works well to clean wood cabinets. Murphy's Oil soap is also good. (06/27/2010)

    By OliveOyl

    RE: Cleaning Grease Off Wood Cabinets

    The best thing that I have ever used after many attempts using other stuff is normal hand dish washing soap and water. Try something like Fairy liquid or Dawn (depends on which country you live in). After I give them a good clean with a cloth, I wipe them down with a solution of vinegar and water, half and half, to remove any soapy residue. My cabinets are always clean and shiny, even the ones over the hob. as long as you do it regularly, say once a week, they should stay nice and clean. (06/30/2010)

    By cett

    RE: Cleaning Grease Off Wood Cabinets

    Well, there are so many suggestions on how to get grease off of wooden kitchen cabinets, but keep in mind, different solutions will only work for different cabinets. Wooden cabinets is such a broad term. Some may be finished with a varnish, some with a lacquer, some with just a stain or no stain and some older cabinets may have been painted over and over many times. So be careful and make sure you know what your cabinets' finish is made of. Don't just spray 409 on a cherry cabinet that may not have a varnish over it. It may dull or remove the luster. Some of the harsh cleansers may be good for cabinets that have a thick lacquer or varnish because they will just remove the grease, film or residue and nothing else, which is good.

    So, with that said, this is for those of you who have a newer model home and cabinets with a sealer or finish on them. I have red maple cabinets, the newer style, within a few years old, and they are finished with a permanent sealer. I use Pledge with lemon oil in the golden bronze can and it removed the grease, finger prints, residue, and everything else stuck on, but did not harm the finish and left a lustrous shine. Also, it smells great and left my kitchen fresh instead of smelling like furniture polish. I know I will someday need to re-stain or seal, but for now, I have managed to keep them looking new. This website is great for advice. I have used it many times. (07/12/2010)

    By tercarr0l

    <img src="http://img.thrfun.com/images/database/tff91226168.JPG" width="220" height="378" alt="RE: Cleaning Grease Off Wood Cabinets" />

    Archive: Cleaning Grease Off Wood Cabinets

    What is the best thing to clean grease off of wood cupboards?

    By Karen from Boswell, PA

    Feedback:

    RE: Cleaning Grease Off Wood Cabinets

    My husband has this degreaser called "Super Clean", he uses in the garage. I needed something for my wood cabinets and it worked great! You can use it other household cleaning. You can find it in most auto sections in your favorite store. (09/16/2010)

    By sunspot

    Archive: Cleaning Grease Off Wood Cabinets

    What is good for cleaning greasy wood cabinets?

    By Gail from Novi, MI

    Feedback:

    RE: Cleaning Grease Off Wood Cabinets

    I have used a solution of Spic-n-Span and hot water to clean my wood cabinets in my kitchen. It gets the grease off and doesn't harm the wood. I would recommend trying it on a spot that can't be seen first just to make sure. (10/18/2010)

    By moseley3

    RE: Cleaning Grease Off Wood Cabinets

    Try a product called "Dirtex". (10/20/2010)

    By Laniegirl

    RE: Cleaning Grease Off Wood Cabinets

    I use 409 it works great on the cabinets and doesn't harm them. I also use it on the stove fan and it cuts right through the grease on it also. (10/20/2010)

    By xintexas

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